The Secret In-N-Out Ordering Trick That Had To Be Banned

Fast food establishment In-N-Out is widely known for its secret, yet really not-so-secret menu hacks. The West Coast restaurant chain is so beloved by many for its secret menu items that they're even publicly shared on the company website. If you ever find yourself in California, it's almost irresistible not to order a secret menu item or two. Nearly everything at In-N-Out — from its fries to its milkshakes — can be customized. In-N-Out's hamburgers aren't left out of the secret menu hacks — its hamburgers can be ordered protein style and hamburger style.

Whether you order a double meat or a 4x4 (that's a burger with a whopping total of four beef patties), one secret ordering trick that may have flown under the radar was the medium-rare hamburger. Unfortunately, if you're looking to nosh on a medium-rare hamburger at your next In-N-Out outing, the burger franchise has banned offering the menu hack.

Medium-rare burgers violate a health code

It's unclear when exactly In-N-Out stopped serving its medium-rare burgers. But, many In-N-Out fans noticed the chain stopped offering the particular item as early as 2017. Some went to social media to express their disappointment. On Facebook, In-N-Out explained that "because of a change in state law, we are no longer able to serve medium rare meat patties at any of our locations."

Under California state law, — which went into effect in 2018 — retail and food establishments that serve undercooked meat must inform their consumers of "the significantly increased risk of consuming those foods" by putting it on their menus, through labels, or by other means. A Reddit user claiming to be an In-N-Out shift manager commented on a Reddit post that alleged In-N-Out "refuses" to put the risk warning on its menu, so the chain decided to stop offering medium-rare burgers. Although In-N-Out may officially stop slinging medium-rare beef patties, if you're a medium-rare lover, one Reddit user suggests requesting your patty to be pulled off the grill early when ordering for a close to medium-well burger.

Ground beef is potentially dangerous rare

If you're craving a medium-well hamburger with a side of French fries, know that In-N-Out isn't the only fast food establishment to not offer medium-well burgers. Fast casual burger chain Shake Shack also only serves medium-well burgers for health and safety reasons. Even fast food giant McDonald's must properly cook its Big Mac and Quarter Pounder beef patties. Sorry medium-rare hamburger fans, but according to Insider, McDonald's beef patties must reach a temperature of 156 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although fresh beef is generally safe to consume if cooked medium-rare, ground beef can be potentially dangerous to eat, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ground beef should not be served and eaten rare or medium rare. Ground meat, including beef, must reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be safely consumed, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Eating undercooked meat can cause food poisoning and food-borne illnesses, such as salmonella and E. coli.